Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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Many viewed the WIAA Section 1 title game between the top-ranked Hudson Raiders and No. 2 Eau Claire Area Stars Saturday, Feb. 24, at Gornick Arena as the de facto state championship game for girls hockey in Wisconsin. If that's the case, the rest of the field at this weekend's state tournament better watch out for the Stars.
The Hudson boys hockey team earned the right to defend its state title with a 4-1 victory over Superior in the Section 1 championship game Saturday, Feb. 24, in Amery. The game was closer than the score indicated. Hudson took a 2-0 lead into the third period before the Spartans got a power play goal with seven minutes remaining to cut the gap in half. But Peyton Hanson scored a pair of empty-netters in the final minute to seal Hudson's third straight victory over Superior in the Section 1 title game.
It's a trend that has plagued the Raider boys basketball team this season. Go toe-to-toe with a team that's ahead of them in the standings only to see it slip away at the end. It happened again last Thursday night against Rice Lake. The Raiders and the defending Big Rivers Conference co-champions went back and forth and the score was tied, 69-69, with just over three minutes remaining. But Rice Lake outscored Hudson 12-4 the rest of the way to pull out an 81-73 victory.
River Falls' Nathan Fuller and Mitchell Williamson and Hudson's Jacob Anderson, will all wrestle for spots on the podium on the final day of the WIAA Individual State Tournament today, Saturday, Feb. 24. Fuller and Williamson dropped their semifinal matches Friday night while Anderson won his consolation quarterfinal match to join Fuller and Williamson in the consolation semifinals.
Hudson scored three goals in each period while holding Somerset to a total of just six shots as the Raiders defeated the Spartans, 9-0, in a WIAA Section 1 boys hockey regional final Thursday, Feb. 15, at Gornick Arena. Top-seeded Hudson hosted No. 4 Baldwin-Woodville in a sectional semifinal Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. The Blackhawks defeated fifth-seed Amery, 3-2, Thursday night to advance.
River Falls' Nathan Fuller and Mitchell Williamson reached the semifinals of their respective weight classes and Wildcat Chance Kamrowski and Hudson's Jacob Anderson are still alive on the consolation side of the bracket after the first day of the WIAA Division 1 Individual State Wrestling Tournament Thursday, Feb. 22, in Madison.
The Raider gymnastics team captured second place at the Big Rivers Conference Tournament Friday, Feb. 16, in River Falls to wrap up second place in the final BRC standings. River Falls won the tournament with a team score of 142.2 to sweep both the regular season and postseason crowns while Hudson was second with 139.925. Freshman Paige Hillman earned three trips to the awards podium with a second place score of 9.25 on the uneven bars, a third place score of 9.1 in the vault and a fourth place total of 35.6 in the all-around.
Six members of the Raider boys swimming and diving team wrapped up their seasons with appearances at the WIAA Division 1 State Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday, Feb. 17, at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium in Madison. Sophomore Ethan Crim earned Hudson's only point of the meet with a 16th place score of 310.75 in the diving competition. Crim had a score of 161.55 in the preliminary round and was at 241.95 after the semifinals to earn a spot in the finals.
Both Hudson High School hockey teams will be playing for state tournament berths Saturday after winning their respective sectional semifinal games Tuesday, Feb. 20, at Gornick Arena. The Raider girls held off a stubborn Hayward team, 4-3, in the first game of the doubleheader before the boys took care of Baldwin-Woodville, 5-1, in the nightcap.
After dropping a close 41-36 match to Marshfield in the WIAA Division 1 Team Sectional Tuesday, Feb. 13, in Marshfield, the Raider wrestling team had four individuals advance out of the individual sectional tournament Saturday, Feb. 17, in Wausau.